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Soccer: Not a Non-Contact Sport

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Some youth sports have a reputation for being particularly dangerous, subjecting young athletes to the risk of injury and concussion. But often these risks are perceived to only affect a limited number of male-dominated sports like football, wrestling and hockey. The risk of serious head injury in football, in particular, has been in the news recently.

So what about other sports? Many parents and athletes may think that a supposedly non-contact sport like soccer doesn’t carry these same risks. Not so, as revealed in a recent news article detailing a concerning incidence of concussions among young female soccer players. That article mentions medical studies that show that the number of girls suffering concussions in soccer account for the second largest amount of all concussions reported by young athletes. These concussions result from using the forehead to direct the ball, which itself can be dangerous. But this move often involves jumping with other players creating the additional risk of colliding with those players.

As we’ve learned from the media coverage of the NFL concussion lawsuits, these head injuries, and particularly suffering multiple head injuries over time, can have cumulative, lifelong health effects. Among them are headaches, dizziness, nausea, vision problems, cognitive disabilities and even depression.

The debate now revolves around whether these risks are just “part of the game” or whether the game needs to be changed to lessen the risk of serious head injury. In the meantime, parents, coaches and young athletes need to be aware of the risks that they truly face in what come across as safe non-contact sports.

KD

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.